Another Court Affirms Employees Overtime & Time Worked Pay Requirement

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has approved a ruling by a New York District Court finding that New York City Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics were improperly denied overtime pay for all of the time spent on pre- and post-work tasks despite not specifically seeking approval for overtime.

The class action law suit that eventually grew to include over 2,500 New York City EMTs and paramedics alleged that they spent significant time doing necessary tasks before and after their shifts, but were not paid overtime, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The city countered that they were not paid because they did not follow protocol and specifically requested overtime approval.

Trial court jury found that the city willfully violated the FLSA by requiring the EMT/paramedics to perform work before and after their shifts without paying them for that work unless they specifically requested overtime compensation from the city. The judge entered a judgment against the city for $17,780,063, allocated as follows: back pay in the amount of $7,238,513; plus the same amount in liquidated damages; and $3,303,037 in attorneys’ fees.

The Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s opinion. The court first noted that an “an employee’s failure to report work the employer in fact knew about or required does not protect the employer from FLSA liability.”

This decision again sends the important message that employers must pay employees for all time worked regardless of whether of not the employee reports the time and requests payment.